By Hilary Mare
THE road can be a dangerous place for both motorists and pedestrians alike. While there are laws in place with the intention of keeping both parties safe when travelling these roadways, there are still thousands of people being injured or killed in pedestrian accidents each year and this alarming rate of carnage on Namibian roads means that there is some work to do in reducing these dangerous incidents.
Essentially, pedestrian safety is becoming increasingly worrisome as year-to-date crash data collected by the MVA Fund Call Centre show that 147 pedestrians were killed on Namibia’s roads while 832 were injured in 901 pedestrian-related crashes. These figures indicate that on average two pedestrians are killed daily, painting a dire picture as the impact of injury or death is felt in so many areas of life.
For this reason, it is undeniable that in order to make any progress with regards to reducing the frequency of these accidents, pedestrians and motorists will need to work together and obey the traffic laws in place.
It’s logical to assume that crash severity would be lessened where traffic calming has slowed vehicle speeds but with this fundamental having failed to work, it is time for authorities to realise that priority among countermeasures should be given to the most effective ones. Traditional approaches without proven effectiveness or approaches that are inappropriate for a given situation will simply waste scarce resources instead of helping to protect pedestrians.
This is the time in which safety officials need to know which options are the most effective for a particular situation and what they may need to do with urgency is collect information on what works to reduce the problem, especially at intersections in order to rid pedestrians from being in the shadow of death every passing day.
To reduce these types of incidents, pedestrians also need to focus on crossing the street at a designated crosswalks or intersections, as the blueprints recommend guidelines for pedestrian safety. Crosswalks aren’t just a safety measure to protect pedestrians — they also protect drivers by cutting down on jaywalking and creating a designated area where motorists can expect foot traffic. Drivers should respect this function by treating crosswalks with caution and giving pedestrians, especially those with disabilities or special needs, the right of way.
The dangers of distracted driving are well known and should be avoided, with many studies indicating that trying to text or talk on the phone while driving is more dangerous than operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.
Even though drivers aren’t likely to suffer severe injury during a crash between a motor vehicle and a person on the street, a pedestrian accident can certainly traumatise a driver and change their life for the worse and one can minimise the risk of a pedestrian accident turning his/her life upside-down by simply staying alert.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015